Hi! I am a Dutch artist and aspiring scientific glassblower. My aim is to create kinetic glasswork. This digital space is my visual journal of progress 2020/2021.
There is a lot to be learned.
As Bernard Bolas describes in A Handbook of Laboratory Glass-Blowing “Until the student can turn a tube steadily without thinking about it, real progress in glassblowing is impossible”.
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This month’s entry marks the end of my one-year learning process. I still feel very much like I’ve grasped only the tip of the iceberg of possibilities.
Which is exciting.
⛓⛓ speed x10
Creating these chains is quite monotonous work. Although it is good training to make each part in exactly the same proportions. I think in glass, there is no such thing as rushing through tedious work. Just sit down and accept it takes time.
6″ glass gear speed x25
Flame annealing’s kind of a misnomer. It’s more a way to gently let the temperatures fall below the strain point. Minimizing thermal shock, much the same way that you accomplish by a crockpot full of vermiculite, or a fiber blanket.
Now that I’m progressing into bigger parts, the risk of thermal shock increases. In the future, I will have to buy an anealing oven.
In June I was invited by Highlight Delft for a residency in the Student Hotel in Delft where I could continue to develop my skills in glass. Which meant moving my burner and workbench to the location of the Student Hotel. It was actually relatively easy to move my burner. Not surprising when you look at the itinerant historical character of glass blowing behind the burner. A good practice to keep refining and altering my work environment.
Distorted Gear Model#3 speed x25
24/7 window exhibition
During my residency at the Student Hotel, I experimented with glass gears. Deforming and pulling the gears out of proportion, and creating organic cylinder-shaped gears. These gears were showcased in a 24/7 window exhibit alongside my experiments with trapping and mixing different liquids and my blindly ambitious project to make a glass piston engine.
In May I was visited in my studio by my photographer Rosanne van Batenburg. She captured my process and workspace at that moment sublimely.
“Beginning with the Woodroffe Brothers in the 1850’s, it seems that no self-respecting troupe would appear without an engine … or two. … “
– Banhu Dunham, Contemporary Lampworking volume I.
Functional glass steam engines were the stars of the 19th-century itinerant glassworker show. The sense of miraculous leaps taken by the natural sciences and technology in the 19th century became enhanced by the beauty of the machines’ glass art.These dazzling devices fascinated the audience. They were both a feat of glass making and a method of demonstrating how steam power functioned.
Glass workers heavily promoted the engines in their advertisements and fanciful names like Fairy Queen, Excelsior, Columbia and the Crystal Gem. They held poetry competitions and presented prizes to the bard who submitted the best verse.
The Glass Steam Engine
The world in its wisdom, has long stood aghast,
Supposing each step in its progress the last,
But still ’tis advancing by steady degrees,
‘Till we ask in amazement, when will wonders cease?
When will wonders cease, we may justly enquire,
When we see a Glass Engine, complete and entire,
In fine working order, from boiler to beam,
And working away under full head of steam.
Mechanics, and artisans, here may engage,
To study this exquisite work of the age,
Surpassing all others in wonder and skill,
And as ages roll by, ’twill a wonder be still.
An Engine of Glass! why, that can never be,
E’en in this wond’rous age of the world’s history,
Incredulity starts, in most utter surprise,
We can hardly believe the plain sight of our eyes;
But there it now stands in its pearly array,
The greatest achievement of this latter day,
Its parts all adjusted, by magical skill,
With all the minutia of whistle and bell.
Its joints, and its gearings, are finished with care,
No friction occurs, and not even a jar;
And when the hot steam is sent coursing its veins,
Like a war horse it pants to break loose from the reins.
An engine, transparent, instructive, and new,
Like a real thing of life with its vitals in view,
The steam from the boilers sends life to the heart,
And life it goes bounding throughout every part.
Then, hail to the progress of science and skill,
From whose storehouse such wonders are forthcoming still;
The palm we will render with pleasure and hope,
To this scientific Bohemian Troupe
– William Somers
NORTEL MINOR BURNER_ Surface mix burner.a surface mixed burners keeps the fuel gas separate from the oxygen (or air) until both gases have left the torch. The advantage of this is that the flame is very quiet, the shape and nature of the flame can also be adjusted more.
REFURBISHED DEVILBLISS OXCYGEN GENERATOR
DESK with a custom extended worksheet of fire retardant MDF and stainless worksheet 60×40
ACTIVE AIR 12 inch IN-LINE FAN 969 CFM_ resting on a self-designed scaffolding tubes construction. I designed the frame in such a way that the extraction is in direct line with the burner at an angle of 45 degrees.Surface mix burner. A surface mix burner keeps the fuel gas separate from the oxygen (or air) until both gases have left the torch. The advantage of this is that the flame is very quiet, the shape and nature of the flame can also be adjusted more.such as; metal wire holders with a concrete base for supporting longer pipes and beams with holes where I can put glass rods and the like.
TOOLS_ Lampworking tool kit from Mountain Glass
SOME HOME MADE TOOLS_ such as; metal wire holders with a concrete base for supporting longer pipes and beams with holes where I can put glass rods and the like.
There is so much knowledge that online (alone) cannot be learned. That is why I would like to follow workshops with master glass blowers to get a better grip on technology. In the current time with Covid-19 that is very difficult, distance can hardly be guaranteed. Because I was afraid not to get the chance to follow the workshops I wanted, I already followed a workshop at the end of September. The workshop was given at the location of Stipglas by Jörg Hanowski. I was very nervous. But it was a very educational experience.
During the workshop I worked on Nortel Minor Burner, a surface mix burner. A surface mix burner keeps the fuel gas separate from the oxygen (or air) until both gases have left the torch. The advantage of this is that the flame is very quiet, the shape and nature of the flame can also be adjusted more. My first steps have been taken on a propane burner. I have often been told that working with Borosilicate glass on a propane burner is not possible. Still, I thought it was going well, but I soon noticed during the workshop that what I thought “worked out nicely” goes so much better on a surface mix burner.
on a propane torch
THIS PROGRESS IS MADE POSSIBLE BY:
Starting grant ‘Research Scientific Glassblowing’
Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie
Stipendium for Emerging Artists 2020-2021